AI-enabled algorithms advise lawyers and prosecutors on how to best invest their resources by predicting how judges will rule in civil cases based on their wealth, political affiliations and where they went to law school. It has turned the art of empathetic judging or shopping judgment into an exact science.
‘Judge shopping’ is the practice of finding a judge – or replacing one already appointed – to hear a case in the hope that it will produce a more favorable outcome. Although it is an open secret in the legal profession, the judge procurement process is often maligned as an abuse by providing alleged strategic advantages that compromise the integrity of the justice system.
The tactic made headlines earlier this year when it was reported that anti-abortion groups in the US were challenging the FDA’s approval of an abortion-inducing drug in Amarillo, Texas, instead of Maryland, where the FDA is headquartered. It’s no coincidence that Amarillo was chosen as the location: the small town has a federal courthouse presided over by a federal judge, deeply conservative U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Kaczmaric.
Now, AI has made it much easier to buy a judge. In January 2023, Pre/Dicta, the only litigation analytics platform that predicts the outcome of federal cases, acquired Gavelytics, a judicial analytics platform for state courts, where 95% of all US cases are heard.
Pre/Dicta is an AI-powered dataset that, instead of considering relevant law or case facts, looks at judges’ biographical details — net worth, political affiliation, who appointed them, education and work experience — and their decisions to predict how they will rule in civil cases. History. Designed to help lawyers and prosecutors decide how to invest their time and resources, Pre/Dicta claims to be 86% accurate. Importantly, it should be noted that pre/dicta does not predict the outcome of criminal trials and jury trials.
“Pre/dicta helps understand and apply Supreme Court behavior in a way no human can,” said the company’s CEO and co-founder, Dan Rabinowitz, when the platform launched in June 2022. “We are confident that our motion tool to dismiss predictions, and others to come, will be an indispensable part of any top litigator’s overall litigation strategy.”
Launched in 2017, before Pre/Dicta, Gavelytics was a market leader in litigation analytics for state courts and, by 2022, had expanded geographic coverage to 25 US states and collected data points not only from judges, but also from law firms, attorneys, and others. Player That information is now added to Pre/dicta’s dataset.
“This agreement is a major milestone for Pre/Dicta and the entire field of predictive litigation analytics,” Rabinowitz said of Gavelytics’ acquisition of Pre/Dicta. which prepares estimates for every case across the country.”
So far, judges seem to have avoided being targeted by AI. Instead, debates about the impact of AI on the legal profession have focused on how it can improve the efficiency of time-consuming manual tasks such as research or document drafting.
So, is an AI-driven platform like Pre/Dicta a good thing? Putting aside the issue of judge procurement, there are some clear advantages. For one thing, litigation is expensive, so giving plaintiffs insight into whether their money will be well spent is an important consideration. And, if more people decide not to pursue litigation based on AI’s predictions of success, it could reduce the backlog of cases in an already clogged system.
However, the problem of judge procurement remains, and with the help of AI, it has the potential to become more widespread. In April 2023, Democrat Senator Mazie Hirono introduced a bill that would give the US District Court for the District of Columbia (DC) exclusive jurisdiction over cases with national implications, including immigration and campaign finance challenges, in an effort to reduce the number of judges. Purchase
“When litigants are able to choose their judges, they are able to predetermine the outcome of their cases, compromising the integrity of our federal justice system,” Hirono said in a press release. “Activist plaintiffs should not be able to elect individual judges to set nationwide policy, which is why it is important to address the issue of judge procurement in our federal courts.”
Time will tell what effect the pre/dicta will have on judge procurement practice, especially on issues of national interest. But it’s unlikely to go away anytime soon.